Jian Ghomeshi, the former CBC radio host, pleaded not guilty Thursday to four counts of sexual assault involving three women in 2002 and 2003.
The "disgraced media darling" also faces a fifth count of "overcome resistance" by choking, the Toronto Sun reported
. If convicted, he could face life imprisonment.
Ghomeshi, 48, is also entangled in a second sexual assault case with a fourth alleged victim that is scheduled to go to trial in June 2016, the Sun said.
The former host of "Q," a popular radio show that played in Canada and was syndicated in the United States, has been rumored for years to cross the line with women, wrote Carl Wilson for Slate.
In a long article about Ghomeshi, Wilson was blunt about his concerns that many on the Toronto art scene ignored the rumors so they would continue to be invited on "Q."
"As the international scandal about priests and young boys unfolded over the ensuing decades, you were grateful you’d distanced yourself when you did. You watched mostly with an outsider’s outraged disbelief: How could these parishes and hierarchies have tolerated and hushed up these patterns for so long?" Wilson wrote. "That question, and that quotation, return to haunt you now."
CBC terminated Ghomeshi for unspecified reasons in 2014. After the radio host spouted off on Facebook that the company couldn't handle his "consensual BDSM lifestyle," women began to come forward with allegations about his conduct, the Sun reported.
Eight different women have made accusations, but two of the sexual assault charges have been dropped after authorities determined they probably could not be proven in court.
Actress Lucy DeCoutere is one of the only women who has stepped forward to identify herself as one of the victims Ghomeshi allegedly attacked. She told the Star she had been on a date with him
and, without warning, he slapped her and choked her until she couldn't breathe.
"He did not ask if I was into it. It was never a question," she told the Star. "It was shocking to me."
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